07 November 2019
Africa is an attractive investment destination for business opportunities despite its economic, political and social challenges.
Despite being blessed with numerous human and mineral resources, Africa remains the poorest amongst continents.
In view of this, stakeholders converged at the African Economic Congress held in Abuja, to chart a way forward on strategies to stimulate and improve economic growth in the continent.
Speaking at the opening of the conference, the minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, who was represented by the Economic Adviser to the President, Dr. Dipeolu Adeyemi, harped on the need for policy makers to converge to exchange ideas as well as information that would chart a new course for the economy of Africa.
In his keynote address on the topic “African economies in the face of a slowdown”, which was delivered by Aisha Ahmad, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, said the continent must invest massively in human capital development so as to be globally competitive.
”population is an asset that needs to be put to full use. Equipped with health, education, the right skills, jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities, Africa’s youth can be an important driver of sustainable and inclusive economic growth we seek. We must scale up private investment to complement public efforts, and support economic growth on the continent,” Emefiele said.
Highlighting the achievements of the Nigerian Government in various initiatives aimed at transforming the Nigerian economy, the Apex bank governor assured that Nigeria remains resilient with a positive outlook despite rising global economic uncertainties.
” it is also important to highlight improvements in Electronic Payments being witnessed in Nigeria as a result of deliberate policy initiatives targeted at making the Nigerian payment system safe, secure, efficient and internationally recognized;
” As result of the implementation of the PSV 2020 strategy Nigeria has witnessed impressive growth of electronic payments. PoS transactions increased by 4,692°o (N2.27 trillion) from N48.46 billion in 2012 to N2.3 trillion at end-2018, Electronic transfers increased significantly by l,967°o (N76.53 trillion) from N3.89 trillion in 2012 to N80.42 trillion in 2018. ”
He advised that the continent required a strong policy coordination and cooperation targeted at more sustainable approaches to economic management, in order to support domestic production, investment and diversify the continent’s economies away from over reliance on commodity exports.
He also urged participants at the conference to take advantage of the conference to identify actionable policy initiatives needed to be implemented to build the desired Africa.
While also noting that the task of managing an economy requires concerted efforts from everyone, the CBN Governor enjoined all to do more, adding that it takes commitment to ensure that Africa remains resilient within a dynamic global economic environment and drives for an inclusive, sustainable growth trajectory that guarantees economic prosperity.
Representative of Kenyan Government and High Commissioner of Kenya to Nigeria, Ambassador Wilfred Massagi, enumerated corruption, unemployment, poor and inadequate infrastructure and security as the major challenges hampering Africa’s economic development.
For his part, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu stressed that there cannot be economic development without considerable security plan as security is the nucleus of economic development.
” the meaningful economic development of any country cannot be discussed in isolation without reference to the indispensable and fundamental place of security”, he said.
The convener of the congress, Mrs. Nancy Ilo Nnaji, said the meeting was expected to proffer solutions to the challenges bedeviling the African continent, while working towards economic sufficiency that would rewrite Africa’s story.
The 3 days conference was part of efforts to further amplify the drive towards building a stronger and more resilient African economy.